Offshore Reefer

Difference Between Offshore Reefer Container and Other Common ISO Shipping Containers

Offshore Reefer Container and Common ISO Container Difference

Shipping containers have evolved tremendously over the years. 

Offshore reefer containers evolved from ISO shipping containers. ISO shipping containers were first made intermodal in the 1950s. This meant that the containers could be moved by different techniques without the need to unload each time. 

The technique changed the world of shipping and commerce and offered an opportunity for low-cost transportation of goods across international shores. 

The recent evolution of DNV offshore reefer containers gave an additional boost to the technology within the shipping industry. 

DNV 2.7-1 certification is a long and thorough process which comes with an assurance that a manufacturer has adhered to the quality control requirements. And these certifications make a significant difference in the world of offshore shipping!

Let’s delve in further. 

What are DNV/offshore reefer containers?

DNV Offshore Reefer Containers are reusable “portable units” designed for transportation of goods/food products etc., between shores through shipping vessels. 

DNV 2.7-1 is considered the standard certification for offshore reefer containers. DNV means Det Norske Veritas, which is an independent foundation striving to safeguard life and property during shipping processes. DNV offshore shipping containers are, therefore, certified oil and gas industry containers.


Offshore Reefer Container 8 Feet Size

Offshore containers may also consist of portable tanks for transporting dangerous goods. As defined by the European Committee for Standardisation, offshore containers may be of the following three categories:

Offshore freight containers- Transport goods like general cargo, bulk containers, special containers, offshore portable tanks to transport dangerous goods, etc. 

Offshore service containers- These are generally temporary and are custom-built for specific tasks. These may include pressurized containers, temporary workshops, etc.

Offshore waste skip- These are containers that hold waste products. 

Also, read our article on “DNV 2.7-1 Certified Offshore Reefer Containers – All You Need To Know” and “Offshore Reefer Container Certification – DNV 2.7-1, EN 12079 & ISO 10855.” 

Sizes available in DNV 2.7-1 Standard

Following are the two sizes available:

        1. 2.5m/ 8ft Offshore Reefer Container (7,000 kg) 

DNV 2.7-1 standard ICE WAVE 8 ft offshore reefer container consists of robust features like microprocessor control for fresh air exchange, a dashboard to record fresh air exchange data to ensure product quality, protection against high damaging CO2 levels to maintain food freshness, and ventilation on demand. 

        2. 3m/ 10ft Offshore Reefer Container (10,000kg)

DNV 2.7-1 standard ICE STORM 10 ft offshore reefer container comes with a load of features to ensure optimum product quality during the shipping process. 

Similar to the 8 ft variant, these include microprocessor control, a record of fresh air exchange data, protection against high damaging CO2 levels and ventilation on-demand to protect perishable cargo. 

Other ISO shipping containers

As the name suggests, ISO shipping containers (also known as intermodal containers) are manufactured according to ISO specifications. The regulations ensure that the containers can withstand shipping and transportation environments. 


Offshore Reefer Common ISO Container image

Various types of ISO containers include flat racks, dry freight containers, reefer containers, insulated containers, open-top containers and tank containers. 

Sizes available

The following sizes are commonly available for ISO shipping containers:

        1. 40ft ISO Reefer Shipping Containers 

This container comes equipped with cooling units to control temperature and is suitable for transporting goods at a fixed temperature. These are commonly used for shipping medicines and food. Temperatures can usually be set from -40 °C up to +35 °C. 

        2. 20ft ISO Reefer Shipping Containers 

These are special refrigerated containers and have their own cooling system. Electricity supply needs to be obtained from the vessel. These are mostly suitable for transporting vegetables, meat and seafood. Temperatures can usually be set from -40 °C up to +35 °C. 

Advantages of Offshore Reefer container over ISO shipping container

Offshore reefer containers are primarily designed to cater to the Oil &Gas industry’s requirements. On the other hand, Common ISO reefer containers, which were the prior version of offshore reefer containers, are not specific to the O&G industry. 

Offshore Reefer Container VS Common ISO Reefer Container Comparison

Check out some key differences between the two:

1. Design

Offshore containers are built to fit a specific piece of equipment and are usually designed for high dynamic load. 

2. Ability to withstand harsh weather conditions

Offshore reefer containers receive a higher exposure to open seas and are often left on the decks of the vessels or loading platforms under harsh weather conditions. 

They, therefore, require a minimum design temperature of -20° C. This also means that the material which they are made of should be of toughness to withstand this temperature. 

On the other hand, ISO shipping containers (also called sea containers) are made of weathering steel which is corrosion resistant. 

3. Loading and unloading techniques

Offshore containers can not be used with standard lifting equipment. Additionally, any methods of loading and unloading can put different types of pressure on the DNV container structure.

Additionally, most offshore containers do not have corner castings and are, therefore, supplied with a permanent sling set. The certified lifting slings/shackles in DNV containers helps the crew to carry them from the platform shipping vessel to a platform safely. 

Additionally, you can get forklift pockets and other necessary equipment with DNV offshore reefer containers to help move them conveniently. 

ISO containers, on the other hand, have a shell construction and are not suitable for high-impact loads. 

4. Microprocessor control

DNV 2.7-1 offshore reefer containers come with microprocessor control for the fresh air exchange rate, which is a feature missing in traditional ISO containers. This means that the air exchange rate can be modified based on the goods being shipped and other requirements. 

5. Availability of data (like fresh air exchange records)

DNV 2.7-1 offshore reefer containers offer an automated dashboard to record fresh air exchange data for you to keep a check on during the shipping process. 

6. Control over CO2 systems

High levels of CO2 can be damaging to various food products with limited longevity. DNV offshore reefer containers offer complete protection against high CO2 levels to control food freshness. 

7. Ventilation on demand

This is a unique feature offered by the DNV offshore reefer containers, which makes them a clear winner in comparison to traditional ISO containers. 

Ventilation on demand offers ultimate protection for perishable products/cargo. The system works by providing complete and automated venting in response to the changes in the levels of respiratory gases. 


Offshore reefer DNV containers are built to withstand the rough environments and conditions prevalent within the shipping industry, which makes them the best choice for the oil and gas industry. 

While ISO containers have been there for as long as we can remember, DNV offshore reefer containers offer design flexibility and many other advantageous features to suit various products and applications. 

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